As queen of Palmyra (present-day Syria), Zenobia was acknowledged in her lifetime as beautiful and clever, gathering round her at the Palmyrene court writers and poets, artists and philosophers. It was said that Zenobia claimed descent from Cleopatra, which cannot be true but is indicative of how she saw herself and how she intended to be seen by others at home and abroad. This lively narrative explores the legendary queen and charts the progression of her unequivocal declaration, not only of independence from Rome, but of supremacy. Initially, Zenobia acknowledged the suzerainty of the Roman Emperors, but finally began to call herself Augusta and her son Vaballathus Augustus. There could be no clearer challenge to the authority of Rome in the east, drawing the Emperor Aurelian to the final battles and the submission of Palmyra in AD 272.
Zenobia's story has inspired many melodramatic fictions but few factual volumes of any authority have been published. Pat Southern's book is a lively account that is both up to date and authoritative, as well as thoroughly engaging.
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About the Author
Pat Southern is an expert on Classical History and is the author of many authoritative books in this area including The Roman Empire from Severus to Constantine; The Late Roman Army and biographies of Augustus and Domitian (all published by Routledge).
Table of Contents1: Zenobia in History
2: Palmyra and Rome
3: Septimius Odenathus, Corrector Totius Orientis
4: Zenobia Widowed
5: Septimia Zenobia Augusta
6: Aurelian and the Roman Recovery